(NewsNation) — Migrants who were bused from the southern border were dropped off at Vice President Kamala Harris’s Washington, D.C., residence early Thursday morning.
Harris’s residence sits on a hilltop on a 72-acre compound of the U.S. Naval Observatory, the official residence of the vice president. The two buses from Texas were parked outside the residence and NewsNation is on the scene and will be providing live updates throughout the morning.
Around 10:30 this morning Harris was asked about the migrants by reporters and offered no comment on the matter. White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement the migrants “deserve a lot better” than to be left on the streets.
The migrants being bused are asylum seekers who are now permitted to stay in the United States by U.S. Customs and Border Protection until their petitions to stay in the country go through the system. The migrants have escalated a gubernatorial feud and brought a humanitarian crisis across the country.
NewsNation affiliate DC News Now spoke with one of the migrants who arrived outside Harris’s residence. Wilder Alberto Pinto Sosa and his son traveled across eight countries from Venezuela to get to the United States. Sosa said he’s the first of his family to make it to the U.S. and is grateful to make a better life for his son. New York is their final destination.
When asked how he has been treated, he said “perfecto” — then he added that he’s been treated with dignity and respect since getting to the U.S., “much better than any other country I’ve passed through”.
The busing crisis began in spring, when Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced plans to send busloads of migrants to Washington, D.C. and New York City, in response to President Joe Biden’s decision to lift a pandemic-era emergency health order that restricted migrant entry numbers. Abbott recently began busing migrants to Chicago this summer.
Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser last week declared a public emergency over the migrant busing. The move would help “triage the needs of people arriving” in the city, according to the mayor. The declaration allows Bowser to create an Office of Migrant Services and allocate funds toward that department. She said the office will support the needs of migrants during a “humanitarian crisis.”
This comes as U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents are arresting a record number of migrants crossing into the U.S. from Mexico. U.S. authorities stopped migrants 1.43 million times at the Mexican border from January through July, up 28% from the same period last year, Customs and Border Protection said.
This story is developing. Refresh for updates.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.